Halloween is still a month away, so how Glendora High School was able to come back from the dead and turn Bonita into pumpkins after sticking them with a 33-30 overtime loss requires further explanation.
Ah, it was Friday 13. Surely,that was it.
A dry recitation of the facts will show that the witching hour for Bonita came shortly before 10 p.m. when Tartans tight end Kieran Campbell hauled in a short pass from Matt Fink, broke two tackles and rumbled into the end zone for a 25-yard pass completion and the overtime win.
Only moments before, Bonita’s Christian Cobian had chipped in a 31-yard field goal in overtime to give Bonita a 30-27 lead. But most in the stands and along the sidelines had to be wondering how the game ever made it to overtime.
In the first quarter, Bonita’s defense was pitching a shutout before the offense finally got wound up and put together a 74-yard drive, capped by 6-yard-touchdown dive by Jake Payton, who ran wild for 196 yards, ultimately, to no avail.
Bonita was even more dominant early and mid-way through the second period. Indeed, both the offense and defense were clicking to such a high degree that they were displaying their best football of the season.After stuffing Glendora’s offense with three straight sacks – with Christian McQueen, Jacob Karim, Daniel Burgess, and Cruz Garibay all getting in on the fun – Bonita’s offense looked more energized than ever.
Starting on its own 34, Bonita mixed in a couple runs by Thomas Loy before quarterback Tanner Diebold found Dimas Diaz along the southern sideline for a 31-yard scoring strike. Bonita missed the extra point.
Though still early in the game, there was a sense this was Bonita’s night, especially after Nathan Smedley on the kickoff leveled Glendora’s kick returner at the Glendora 25, drawing a huge roar of approval from the Bonita faithful. Then moments later, Karim stepped in front of a Fink pass and carried it back to the Glendora 3-yard line. On third and goal, Diebold, rolling to his right, found Noah Montoya for a 7-yard touchdown to give Bonita a 19-0 lead. The try for two points failed, but was Bonita was rocking and rolling.
In Glendora’s next series, Bonita stuffed the Tartans again, but instead of playing conservatively and being content to run out the clock, the Bonita offense went looking for more.
But like parents handing out too much candy at Halloween, doubling up on the Snickers and Milky Ways, Bonita was too generous. Glendora converted a fumble and answered with a 31-yard touchdown connection from Fink to Briton Noskoff to cut the lead to 19-7 after the extra point was good.
Bonita’s next push ended with an interception. Glendora lined up a 41-yard field goal that hit the right upright and bounced out. Bonita entered the locker room with the lead, but Glendora entered the intermission with all the momentum. The Tartans were back in it after having been on life support!
Glendora made the most of Big “Mo.” After stuffing Bonita on its first offensive series, Glendora’s Campbell scored with 6:35 left in the third quarter. The Bearcats aided the drive with two off-sides penalties.
After stopping Bonita on offense again, Glendora’s offense went back to work, taking over on its 37. Then with 2:49 left in the third, Amin Raad struck pay dirt with a 32-yard gallop, giving Glendora 20 unanswered points and its first lead of the night, 20-19.
Now it appeared that Bonita was staggering, unable to overcome the goblins and gremlins that appeared to be attacking them from every direction.However, just when it appeared that Bonita had no answer for Glendora’s surge, the Bearcats’ defense finally held, giving the offense the ball back late in the quarter. On its own 17, and despite Glendora’s defense keying on No. 6, Payton, using his amazing speed, vision and cutback ability, romped down the northern sideline for a scintillating 83-year touchdown run. After Diebold connected with Montoya for the two-point conversion, the Bearcats were back in front as time expired at the end of the third.
Glendora, however, claimed the fourth quarter, asserting its size and physicality on seven consecutive running plays before Joey Paulus burst into the end zone at the end of a 5-yard run with 6:16 to play. After the extra point, the game was tied 27-27.
Both teams had their final chances in regulation. Bonita twice survived punts out of its own end zone, but the Bearcats defense stiffened to hold the Tartans who were working with a short field. Neither team could capitalize, however, forcing the extra period.
It was a tough loss for the Bearcats, who saw what looked like a certain victory snatched away from them. They went for the knockout late in the first half, but instead gave their staggering opponent a sliver of hope.“We probably should have sat on it,” coach Adrian Medrano said about the series of events that unfolded late in the second quarter, “but hindsight is 20-20. “We tried to put the dagger in and missed, so that’s on us.
“They made some adjustments, and we didn’t make enough adjustments ourselves, and that’s nobody’s fault but my own. As a team, we got comfortable and relaxed. It was kind of like the South Hills game. There were times when we didn’t finish, and this time, it came back to bite us in the butt.”
Even though it wasn’t Halloween, the vampires were biting, and took their pound of flesh from a Bonita team that deserved better.